Blistered Shishito Peppers with Zesty Lemon [Vegan] Aioli
There’s not much I can say about blistered shishitos aside from the fact that they delicious, they’re surprisingly easy to make, and they make an impressive appetizer.
I’ve also done extensive research on their spice level – most are mild, and about 1 in every 10 has a kick. There’s so size, shape, or color indicator on which one is the spicy one, so whenever you make these, it’s like playing pepper roulette. (Also, my extensive research consists of me ordering these whenever I see them on a menu and the plethora of times I’ve made these at home.)
A huge part of my wellness routine is eating good-for-you foods, so if you need a reason to make these aside from the fact that they’re freaking delicious, here’s a few fun facts on their nutrition:
1. Shishito peppers are loaded with antioxidants, which help fight toxins & oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to inflammatory disease, heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, arthritis… I’m not a medical expert, but consuming fruits & vegetables rich in antioxidants certainly keep me feeling my best & I’ll take all of the preventative measures I can take here.
2. Shishito peppers contain 80% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin A (which helps to promote eye health & bone health) and
3. 170% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C (essential for a strong immune system & fighting off those winter colds that are just around the corner).
You can eat these plain, but I absolutely love them with a creamy dip a la my Lemon Garlic Aioli – which contains no dairy and boasts additional nutritional value. The secret to a creamy & healthy base comes from a homemade cashew cream, and the benefits of cashew cream include heart-healthy fats, magnesium & antioxidants – combine that with the vitamin C boost from lemon & heart healthy garlic & you’ve got a healthy, satiating dip.
While I’m not vegan, I prefer not to eat things loaded with mayonnaise, and the middle child in me loves the challenge of making things healthy. This dip has been approved by vegans and non-vegans alike, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Alright, let’s get to cooking…
· Shishito Peppers (I usually buy the “party pack” bag, which contains about 35 peppers)
· Raw Cashews
· ½ lemon
· 2 cloves garlic, peeled
· Apple Cider Vinegar
· Avocado Oil
· High-Speed Blender
· A large non-stick skillet
Let’s start with the Lemon Garlic Aioli & Cashew Cream.
1. Start by boiling water. In a bowl, pour 1 cup raw cashews. Cover with boiling water and let sit until soft, about 15 minutes.
· (Alternatively, you can let your raw cashews soak in filtered water for 2-15 hours if you can plan ahead.)
2. Remove soaked cashews with a slotted spoon, reserving the water for later use.
3. Place cashews in a blender with juice from ½ lemon, two cloves of garlic, 2 TBSP and 2 TBSP water from the bowl of soaked cashews. Blend on high until creamy, about 30-60 seconds. (Note: you can add additional water from the bowl 1 TBSP at a time if needed)
4. Transfer to Tupperware and place in fridge to cool while you start on the peppers.
Blistered Shishito Cooking Directions:
1. Drizzle or pour 3 TBSP Avocado oil in a large non-stick skillet & heat on high.
2. Poke each pepper with a toothpick to prevent bursting.
3. Once hot, fill pan with shishito peppers (I usually do about 14-21 at a time, depending on # of people eating & how big your pan is 😊. One serving is about 7 peppers)
4. Reduce heat to medium & cover to prevent splatter and help soften the peppers.
5. Turn occasionally until peppers are softened and sides are blistered & charred.
Serve with Lemon Garlic Aioli & Enjoy!
*You must use raw cashews for this recipe – roasted will not work.
*I use avocado oil because it has the highest smoke point at 520°F. This means you can heat the oil without the potential harmful oxidation You can use extra virgin olive oil as well, but note that it does oxidize at 405°F so try to keep the heat to a medium. MOST stove-top cooking is about 248-356°F but I try to be aware of smoke points when cooking.